Kasauli anti-encroachment drive: Hotelier kills woman Asst Town Planner, SC says 'serious issue'

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Kasauli demolitionTaking suo motu cognisance of the killing of an assistant town planning officer during a court-ordered anti-encroachment drive in Himachal Pradesh’s Kasauli, the Supreme Court said it is an “extremely serious issue”. The apex court had directed the matter to be placed before Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The incident occurred when a woman assistant town and country planner was carrying out SC ordered drive to demolish illegal structures in 13 hotels in Solan district.

“We might stop passing any order if you are going to kill people,” the court said.

On April 1, Assistant Town Planner, Shail Bala Sharma was allegedly chased and shot dead by the Narayani guest house owner, Vijay Thakur after an altercation between took place during a demolition drive against unauthorised structure in 13 hotels across the hill resort in Himachal.

According to reports, eyewitnesses said that Thakur fired at least three bullets at her inside the Narayani guest house in Mandudhar on the Dharampur-Kasauli road at around 2.33 pm.
The accused is on the run and the Police have announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to Thakur’s arrest.

Vijay Thakur had committed a “brazen act of defiance of this court’s orders”, observed the bench.

According to order given by the Apex Court on April 17, the hotel owners were given 15 days to demolish unauthorised constructions on their premises. They were also told to deposit a fine of up to Rs 15 lakh each.

“You just demolish it (unauthorised constructions). What is going on? You are admitting that you were supposed to make only two-storeyed buildings. There was a landslide in your premises and you did nothing. You are putting the life of people in danger. For what? Money,” the bench had observed.